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Abstract

Politics is officially banned from Eurovision, and songs that are too political can be prevented from being performed. However, the complete separation of culture and politics is impossible, and cultural performances often carry both indirect and explicit political messages. Eurovision is no exception. Established in 1956, the cultural-political goal of the contest was to unite European countries after the devastation of WWII, and it is one of the hallmarks of the cultural and political integration Europe has pursued since the founding of the European Coal and Steel Community in 1951. Now, since contestants are based on members of the European Broadcasting Union, many non-European countries participate. From the win of drag queen Conchita Wurst in 2014 to the recent Ukranian winner Jamala who sang about the repression of the Crimean Tatars by Stalin, Eurovision as a cultural performance is political in nature and in the national responses it generates. Nations also tend to vote in geographical / cultural blocs and Eurovision voting is used to make apparent alliances or grievances between nations, both within the European Union and with those outside of it. This paper will examine the ways that European nations use Eurovision as a cultural platform from which to mediate inter-national and social politics. It will be composed of both a review of existing studies done on Eurovision voting patterns and voting blocs as well as qualitative, descriptive examples. While many Europeans tacitly or explicitly understand Eurovision as a political platform, this article offers specific data analysis and an in-depth case study offering evidence that this is the case.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

 

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